Leftovers (by Len Winneroski)

UnknownJesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:4

This morning I was reading the story of the feeding of the five thousand that is recorded in all four gospels (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:31-44, Luke 9:10-17, and John 6:5-15).  Jesus had achieved rock star-like status at this point in His ministry because of all the miraculous healings that He was performing. The word was out. All the sick, needy and curious were coming out of the woodwork to be healed or to see Jesus for themselves. The Bible tells us that the disciples were hungry and tired from dealing with the crowds and that Jesus wanted to get away with His disciples to rest.  However when they tried to retreat to a remote mountainside to rest they ended up feeding over five thousand dinner guests instead.

Most people are familiar with this story. Jesus fed over five thousand men and their families from five barley loaves and two fish.  As I pondered over these verses today it struck me how many times that I see a situation of need that breaks my heart. When I start praying and thinking about what I could do to help out, and I start moving towards action, I think about the needs again and they seem so great that I end up doing nothing.  I see the situation like Philip did who looked at the hungry crowd and said, “Eight months wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (John 6:7). I look at the world from my perspective and not from God’s.

Needs never phased Jesus.  When He was faced with a hungry crowd and He only had a small amount of food to offer, Jesus gave thanks for what he had and God multiplied it so that there was more than enough to meet the need. In fact God provided so much food that there were twelve baskets full of leftovers. Man focuses on what’s in his hands but God focuses on what’s in his heart. Man sees limitations but God sees possibilities.

To me this story is about not being afraid to take the little that you have to God and then trusting Him for the results.  It’s about giving thanks for what you do have to share instead of complaining about what you don’t have. It’s about having compassion on the sheep that don’t know their Shepherd yet and loving and encouraging them, even when you are tired and hungry. It’s about taking a few loaves of bread and an empty basket to Jesus and trusting Him to meet the need abundantly.

Dear Lord. Forgive me when I focus on what I can do instead of what you can do. Forgive me when I am embarrassed about the small offering that I can make instead of being thankful that I have enough to share.  Help me to come to you with enough faith to see that you alone are the Bread from Heaven who can satisfy any need.  I love you Lord.

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